Calderdale Council could borrow £35m to fund ambitious homes and jobs plans in Brighouse

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Councillors are considering borrowing around £35m to fund ambitious homes and jobs plans in Brighouse.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet will consider proposals for £52.4m of funding officers believe will be necessary to ensure the infrastructure around Brighouse and south east Calderdale is in place for the proposals.

Roads, schools and community centres will be essential to maximise the potential of two garden communities totalling around 3,000 new homes, the proposed Clifton Business Park and A641 corridor improvements on the route linking Bradford to Kirklees via Brighouse, the senior councillors are told.

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It is envisaged the £52.4m will be funded partly by roof tariffs on new homes built, which the council can enforce by legal agreements with housebuilders, which it is estimated will raise around £17.4m.

The funding will be considered by Calderdale Council's cabinet membersThe funding will be considered by Calderdale Council's cabinet members
The funding will be considered by Calderdale Council's cabinet members

But the council will need to borrow £34.9m, paid back over an estimated 18 year period.

The reward, councillors are told, is unlocking the potential of the land.

Alternatives, including all of the critical infrastructure being funded by housebuilders and private landowners, have been assessed and the briefing paper to councillors outlines why these have been ruled out.

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In the case of the example given, this is because the consequential reduction in residual land value would be below that at which it is reasonable to expect a willing landowner to sell, resulting in allocated land not coming forward for development of new homes, and consequential reduction in profit margins being below that recognised as “reasonable” in housing viability appraisals.

Much of the garden community land is in private hands.

With infrastructure benefiting multiple sites throughout south east Calderdale, only the council can spread the cost equitably across them all, says the report.

Taken together, a proposed gross investment programme of around £201.5m over the next decade by the council and other public sector partners – such as West Yorkshire Combined Authority – has the potential to unlock around £757m of private sector investment, councillors are told.

When they meet on Monday, February 12, the cabinet members will be asked to agree the proposed investment and recommend to full Calderdale Council meeting that councillors also approve it.